DIY website builders - Yes, No & Why?

I’m in a need to use one of the DIY website builders. I have few customers that need very simple and small websites, that don’t want to pay a lot.

Therefore, I decided to try some website builder, in order to create their website quicker and charge them less.

I did my research but I would like to hear someones experience.

Do you have experience with some?

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I tried SquareSpace and quite honestly I had a hard time with it. Particularly in resizing and formatting the gallery images of my work.

Ultimately I ended up going with Wix. I’m not a web designer, so the site is far from perfect. But it was much easier for me to use.

Wordpress. Fast, and lots of toys and useful plugins.

Well now that Squarespace, Wix, and Wordpress have been mentioned, I’ll expose my inexperience with this type of platform and ask how these and any others you know about rank among the field in feature depth, learning curve, etc.

Here’s what I mean:
It’s my (possibly mistaken) impression that Wordpress, for example, is a feature-rich platform, suitable for pro-level business-capable output when a CMS is appropriate; whereas the likes of Wix and Squarespace are more ‘consumer-level,’ anyone-makes-their-own discreet infosite tools. So if you were to compile a ranking in this context with Wordpress high on the list and Wix near the low end, where would others land?

Just my point of view, of course, but getting totally comfortable with Wordpress or, in my case, Joomla, is a better way to go than a drag-and-drop site builder. There are thousands of very flexible frameworks and templates available that, once you know how, can easily be worked with and modified to meet the client’s needs with no more trouble than the site builder sites. Plus this CMS approach allows a designer much more flexibility in the form of add-ons and custom modifications than do any of the build-it-yourself or drop-and-drag websites.

It’s amazing how far WP has gone away from being a press for words. You know, only a blog.

Talking with a server-side friend today she mentioned that they nuke more than 250 million attacks per month just from those coming through WP plug-ins and themes, but mostly from plug-ins.

Weebly is another popular drag-n-drop … complete with eComm.

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You know, that’s why I prefer Joomla over Wordpress. Whenever I need to build something in it, I just keep stumbling over things that could have been done differently or better if it didn’t have its foundations built around blogging software.

Yes I agree with you about Wordpress. i don’t use Joomla much.
Recently I started working with smaller businesses - those that don’t need big websites, like 5-10-15 pages max.

Did massive research and decided on Exai Website Builder.
Much more like wix and SS, but much better and more advanced features.

I tried it with 3 clients already. I did the website in day and a half and customers can edit the website very easy. They like it. I’m happy too, so I go for it.

If you try it, let me know. I’m not sure if I can put link here, but just google it! :slight_smile:

Interesting thread! Personally I think that using a website builder is a good choice for those people who don’t have much experience in web design. When I wanted to create my first site I was lucky to find these free website builders. I chose Wix and haven’t regretted my choice as it has many great templates and features. As for Wordpress, it offers many beatifully designed themes and I’m going to try it in the nearest future.

Hey I’m glad you had good times with Wix, because I didn’t really. I had some issue with a domain name and was waiting for 4 days to get fixed :frowning:
For me Exai is great because their customer support is available every day and solved every problem I had in a day.

Lots of plugins, yes, but I would not say it is fast. It is a full blown CMS, and every page it renders is rendered dynamically and thus you will never get the speed from it that you can from a static website, unless you use a CDN or a plugin like Simply Static.

The speed may depend somewhat on what theme framework is being used but I stopped recommending it for “simple and small websites.” Blogs, yes. Larger websites where the customer insists that they be able to maintain content, ok.

For light weight sites I would recommend something more like https://gohugo.io/ or https://appernetic.io/ or if you want to retrofit a ready made static html theme I always go for https://www.couchcms.com/ and enable on page editing if my customers need to change text or images at times. They absolutely love it, and never end up with problems breaking the responsive or adaptive design on mobile or something like commonly happed when I had clients on Wordpress.

If their own website is any indication of the quality of the builder then it is garbage. Their site seems to be only partially responsive, and I am seeing layout problems. Columns not lining up, and on mobile some of the buttons are over top of the content.

I was unclear. My bad! I meant that it was fast to get a website up and live.

word press is the best option for every owner and its very easy to maintain and lot of plugin are available for your helping hand.

I hate the idea of using any of them, but I don’t know much about any of them to compare them to each other. B is making Joomla sound like the best bet for graphic designers.

In an attempt to modernize, I just spent the last week taking 4 online courses simultaneously, WordPress, PHP & SQL, Responsive Web, and Effective Web. I was most inspired by the Responsive Web course and most annoyed by the WordPress course. I don’t think I would have found the WordPress course annoying if I wasn’t a graphic designer. Instead, I would have probably found that course the most exciting if I wasn’t a graphic designer. That course was the most popular course. There seemed to be about 3x the enrollment into that course as all the other 3 courses combined.

I compare the idea of DIY to the idea of working your way out of a job. It’s a good idea if it gets you into a better job. It’s a bad idea if there is no better job opportunities to work yourself into. Either way, it’s probably a net gain for online marketing professions and a net loss for the graphic design profession as a whole. If you are more interested in selling websites than building websites, it’s all good. For graphic designers, DIY seems like a “join 'em because you can’t beat 'em” proposition.

Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say that. There are many content management systems available, and each excels at something and comes up short in other ways. Joomla is more complicated than WordPress, but it also has more capabilities. Drupal is more difficult still, but excels in ways that programmers love. Of course when those capabilities aren’t needed, and ease of use and development are most important, WordPress might be the best option. Need robust e-commerce? Then Magento might be the best bet. Don’t need all the complexity of a normal database, then a flat-file CMS like Grav comes to mind.

It’s difficult to become proficient in template development for more than a couple of CMS’s. Everyone has their favorite, and that favorite is often based more upon familiarly than anything else. It’s even getting to the point where designers/developers are specializing in specific frameworks within the CMS. It’s just too time-consuming and expensive to learn a new way of doing things each time a new project comes along.

I was speaking in terms of not working your way out of a job or contributing to a net loss of jobs for the graphic design profession.

I’m not a web designer but use Wordpress.com for my own websites and close friends/family.

I’ve also used Wix for client websites but at their insistence, not mine. I don’t offer web services because other people can offer the service for cheaper and faster but if an existing client wants me to tinker with what they already have, I can do it.

Not knowing how long the learning process will take you, how will you charge? I charge by the hour, but I let my clients know if I’m inexperienced.

It’s good to expand your services of course, but I would test things out on your own project or at least at a discounted rate.

WordPress is much more effective and easy to use platform for devloping the website. Because of it’s built-in features you don’t have to do too much coding as well. The only drawback I saw in few WordPress sites is in their search tool that took time and needs too much information for searching. But recently I used a plugin named “WP Full Text Search” that makes the searching more precise and faster. So I highly recommend you to us WordPress.

DIY website builders can really help ordinary people to create and build their own website, It doesn’t use code so its simple to use. You can customize your own website any way you want to

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